Objective: Studies have suggested a link between lycopene and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). The aim of this study was to test the effect of lycopene supplementation on IGF-1 and binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) status in healthy male volunteers. DESIGN, SETTING, SUBJECTS AND INTERVENTION: This was a 4 week randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of lycopene supplementation (15 mg/day) in healthy male volunteers (n=20). Fasting blood samples were collected at baseline and after 4 weeks. Samples were analysed for lycopene by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and IGF-1 and IGFBP-3 by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Changes in end points from baseline were compared in those who received placebo versus those who received the lycopene supplement.
Results: Median change in lycopene from baseline (post-supplement - baseline) was higher in subjects in the intervention than those on placebo (lycopene group 0.29 (0.09, 0.46); placebo group 0.03 (-0.11, 0.08) micromol/l; median (25th, 75th percentiles), P<0.01). There was no difference in median change in IGF-1 concentrations (lycopene group -0.6 (-2.6, 1.9); placebo group -1.15 (-2.88, 0.95) nmol/l, P=0.52), or median change in IGFBP-3 concentrations (lycopene group 245 (-109, 484); placebo group 101 (-34, 234) nmol/l, P=0.55) between intervention and control groups. Change in lycopene concentration was associated with the change in IGFBP-3 in the intervention group (r=0.78; P=0.008; n=10).
Conclusions: Lycopene supplementation in healthy male subjects has no effect on IGF-1 or IGFBP-3 concentrations in a healthy male population. However, the association between change in lycopene concentration and change in IGFBP-3 in the intervention group suggests a potential effect of lycopene supplementation on IGFBP-3.